Three years ago I had a chance to visit the southern Iraqi city of Umm Qasr while working on a containership owned by Maersk. At the time, Maersk was just returning service to this war torn area and I didn’t quite know what to expect. Over the next 1-2 months I would visit this port every week and built a relationship with faces that became familiar. Three years after visiting an area that was struggling to get back on its feet it seems like Umm Qasr continues to distance itself from a violent past. I recently read that the Maersk has just opened up an office at the port which seemed to dangerous to do in the past.

So take a look back too 2009 when I was introduced to Iraq through a donut hole.

La Buena Vida

Day 82 On the Maersk Arkansas

A couple weeks ago we started service to Umm Qasr, Iraq or as I like to call it “things that make you go hmmmmm Qasr”. Umm Qasr is said to have been where Alexander the Great landed in Mesopotamia in 325BC. Because of Umm Qasr’s position as a major port for the Iraqi navy and access to the Persian Gulf, it played a major role in the lead up to the 1st Gulf War. The waterway leading to Umm Qasr was the center of an ownership dispute between Iraq and Kuwait. It was traditional Arab understanding that the territory from Baghdad south to the Gulf and including modern day Kuwait was a part of Iraq. Colonial power England awarded land tucked in the northwest corner of the Persian Gulf to the al Sabah family and this became Kuwait. Iraq finally recognized Kuwait as a nation in the 1960s but…

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Categories: A Look Back


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